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Archive for January 20th, 2009

I think Ann Coulter is an asshole.

Who needs illustration for that?

I love this single mama and what she has to say about it.  

You can read her blog here at Ms. Single Mama.

Something I appreciate about blogging is connecting with other single mothers. Some of us have dated a bit. Some don’t want to. Some are remarried now. Some have new loves like mine.  

Having literally picked my town out on the map on a whim, because it was on the coast and I liked how it felt, I moved here alone, with my 2 and 4 year old a few years ago. Now, they are 6 and 8 and we’ve become accustomed to the community, we have friends, my work is here now, my mom moved nearby to be involved in the kids’ lives. 

What I do lack is single mother friends here. I mean, I met my first one this year. We’re friendly but we aren’t hanging out or anything.

The few close friends that I do have are supportive. Either because they’ve been there or close to it.  I have a friend across the country who recently became a single mom. Her recent email to me said, “You have no idea what it’s like to be a single mom until you are one.” And then she apologized for not being more in tune with what was going on with me, while I was being introduced to the world of “being completely alone.”

Honestly, for me, being a single mother is so much easier than being in the marriage I was in. The few dating experiences I had after that ended up adding similar chaos and trouble to my mothering as my marriage did. Which is why I left it. The example my husband at the time and I were setting for the kids, was not a good one. And it wasn’t until a therapy session together  (our first and last) that I realized it would never be different. I still mourned it. I still mourned the fact that we didn’t have “that”. That we couldn’t make it work the way we all want it to work. It’s still sad, no matter who the jerk is, or what happens.

I feel a lack of connection with many mothers because I feel they see me as a disappointment or a threat to what they consider “family”. This is just my experience here, where I am, with certain individuals. I am not saying it is the norm. But it is what I feel from some who I interact with. Obviously, people feel that way, but really, what options do we have? Stay in a marriage that’s unhealthy not only for us but for the kids too? Staying is not going to keep that “family” feeling necessarily, nor will it keep all parties feeling safe and secure in their lives.

At the end of the day, I am grateful for the moms I am close with. We manage to go out, walk, have coffee, and connect.  As women. As moms. As human beings.  I don’t feel like such a single mom on those days.

I ran into a woman I know from the school. She had her two young sons with her who were sick, at the market, coughing and weezing and miserable. Her husband was working that night, filling oil for people who let their furnaces die on one of the biggest snow storm nights ever, and she needed food and drink and popsicles for the kids.

In my head, I suddenly relived moments in my life where I have felt most alone with my girls. Times  like when we’re all three throwing up with some sort of stomach thing, I am also changing sheets and airing out rooms and running to the market with sick kids in tow and gallon sized ziplock baggies in my pocket in case one of us can’t keep it down in the deli aisle…because really, in the end, I am alone.

Being a mom is hard, no matter who you are. I think being a married mom can be super hard, as it was for me. Folks are also maintaining a relationship, a marriage, with expectations and disappointments and hurrahs and triumphs. Regardless of good or bad, it is work. Some of the lucky ones are in marriages where there is extreme mutual respect, support and love and I truly celebrate that two people can find each other and have that. If you are one of them, don’t ever take it for granted.

It hasn’t been until my meeting J, that I actually feel true acceptance of my being accompanied by the preciousness of Red and Blue. Or felt any sort of support.  I’ve heard so many times, “if they don’t love your children, they can’t love you.” But I never really knew what that meant until it happened.  And I truly believe that my experience with J is blessed with an ease and collaboration that makes my life easier as a mom, even if he isn’t here with us every day. 

Recently, I shared with him that I have learned alot from him concerning “attitude” in parenting.  He’s not a father, but when he is with us, he exudes patience and creativity, along with firmness and authority, lovingly. (where when I am at my wits end on a Thursday at 7pm, I don’t come across as “loving” when I’m untying one child from the toilet tank and the other is dancing circles and pointing and laughing because she put her sister there)  

I watch J and in simple ways, managed difficult situations, break up fights, reason with the girls when they’re being unreasonable, with ease. More often now, after I take a breath, I find that place in myself and can handle conflict as a parent, differently than I used to.

I call it “what I’m learning about parenting from my childless boyfriend.”

When I mentioned this to him, he said, “yeah, but it’s easy for me. YOU’RE with them 24-7, so of course your patience will wane. Most mothers have their husbands to step in at the end of the day or get up with them in the middle of the night. YOU do not.”

And then he said, “When I get home and we’re together, I can take some of that off you, you know. I can help you with that.”

 

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